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Clot Busters

  July, 14 2003 7:49
your information resource in human molecular genetics
A new approach described in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology for combating clots shows promise as a means of preventing bleeding in patients who have undergone surgery or for individuals suffering from strokes. Most treatments for dissolving clots have only a short life span in the blood circulation and can cause bleeding and serious brain injuries by indiscriminately attacking clots around the body. By attaching the anticlotting agent, tissue plasminogen activator, to the surface of red blood cells, researchers show that they can prolong the life of the clot buster in the blood and target newly forming blood clots that are most lethal to patients.

Heart attacks and strokes kill about 12 million people a year worldwide, about a million of those in the United States. But current anticlotting agents suffer several shortcomings, including short-term stability and diffusion into organs such as the brain, which often results in lethal side effects. By coating red blood cells with the tissue plasminogen activator, Vladimir Muzykantov and his colleagues tested the ability to dissolve new clots in both mouse and rat thrombosis models. Their anti-clotting agent proved more stable in circulation and avoided the problems of diffusion from blood vessels, which can cause harmful bleeding. By simply coating a patient’s red blood cells with anticlotting agent, the authors believe it should be possible to prevent many clot-related deaths that cannot be prevented using existing therapies.

Author contact:

Vladimir Muzykantov
(University of Pennsylvania Medical School
Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Tel: +1 215 898 9823
E-mail: muzykant@mail.med.upenn.edu

Also available online

(C) Nature Biotechnology press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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